In a previous post, I gave you the first 5 steps of a car accident insurance claim. Once you get your medical records, what happens next? Here are the final 5 steps of a personal injury claim.
1. GET WAGE LOSS RECORDS
If you missed time from work, you need to get a letter from your employer or obtain documents showing your income and the time you missed. A note from your doctor confirming that he took you off work is also useful.
2. DETERMINE ECONOMIC DAMAGES
Generally, your economic damages are the amount of your medical bills plus your wage loss. However, if you lost money for other reasons, such as unused tickets to an event, you need to include this as well.
3. DETERMINE NON-ECONOMIC DAMAGES
This is one of the reasons attorneys get paid. There is no formula. There is no easy way to calculate this amount. Every case is different and experience is what will determine the value of this number. This is your pain and suffering and should include money for activities you could not do after the accident.
4. PREPARE DEMAND PACKAGE
Prepare a demand letter and include all of the documentation you obtained. Your demand package should include an explanation of the facts of the case, why the other party was at fault, your injuries, how long you were injured, the amount of your economic damages and your demand to settle the case. Finally, give the insurance company a reasonable time to respond, usually 15 days.
5. SETTLE CASE OR FILE SUIT
At this point, a settlement will be negotiated or you will have to file a lawsuit. Depending on the value of the case, you may be able to file in small claims court without an attorney.
If you do not understand these 5 steps plus the prior 5 steps, you should talk to an attorney. There is no one way to handle a claim. Your attorney may have different ideas and different steps. So, you need to talk to your attorney about how he/she wants to proceed.